On the day Claire Davenport was born she took her very first trip. She was born with a condition that affected her lung development, and was forced to travel through a block and a half long tunnel from Abbott Northwestern Hospital, where she was born, to the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota across the street.
"I never got to hold Claire or touch her," said Claire's mom, Jennifer. "They immediately wheeled her through this tunnel that is long. And as a mom, you know, I worried, 'What happens if something goes wrong in that tunnel?'"
The Plymouth mom said the inability to see her baby or communicate with her doctors was hard. Her husband, James, said he constantly ran back and forth between her room and the baby's; the trip took him about twenty minutes each way.
Starting Monday, babies born at Abbott Northwestern won't have to go far for world-class pediatric care, and their parents won't be far from them. That's because the hospital has teamed up with Children's Hospital to open The Mother Baby Center, a 96,000 square foot building nestled between the two hospitals. There, staff from both facilities will be on hand to care for mothers and their newborns.
"Having the ability to have such close proximity to your child when they're that critically ill is a game changer," said Jennifer.
The new setup is helpful and convenient for the doctors, too.
"It's really great from a physician standpoint because the baby doctors are just down the hallway just, a few feet away when we need them, so there's no delay in getting them there when we need them," said Dr. Lynne Gibeau, Abbott Northwestern OBGYN.
The Mother Baby Center also features spacious rooms for parents to stay with babies who need complex care, large specialty nurseries to accommodate twins and triplets and easy access from the operating rooms to the neonatal intensive care unit.
There's no other center like it in the state, and there are few like it in the country.
"Families are going to be able to experience a level of care, a level of service, a level of communication that they couldn't get anywhere else," said Jennifer.
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